Gujarat is India’s largest marine fish producer, mostly due to its 1640 km long coastline supports from four lakh population of fishermen community. These fisher folk bring in large amount of business in the state with stark contrast to the northwest area of Kutch where the fishing sector is suffering with a mere 12 per cent of the fish brought in, even though it has the longest coastline.

A subsidiary of Tata Power Company, Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL), has their 4000MW Ultra Mega Power Plant in Kutch and the company being highly involved in Corporate Social Responsibility, set out to discover the crux of the issue and go about fixing it. In 2014, in partnership with Swadeep, CGPL launched a community-based sustainable livelihood programme, the initiatives, called Sagarbandhu, was focused in the villages of Trigadi Bandar in Mundra block, the major areas where the fisher folk live and return to when the fishing season ends, and do their alternative jobs, which are highly seasonal.

The Sagarbandhu programme went beyond just looking for way of providing the fisher folk alternative employment for the rest of the year, but also inspired to help develop the community and a sense of ownership and independence within the villagers. The activity includes VDAC formation, value chain analysis, revolving fund at the start of the season, exposure visits, regular meetings, SHG formation, drinking water and sanitation facilities, school-level interventions, and distribution of boat lights, Talpatri, bamboo, health kite, fishing nets and marketing equipments. Local institutions designed to help with the development of the community were set up, it included Self Help Groups (SHGs) and a Village Development and Advisory Council (VDAC) through the fisher folk and villagers are offered training on different fishing techniques. For the better accessibility of the local market, the proper infrastructure is develops in the area.

The communities have been greatly encouraged by the initiative of CGPL and Swadeep have responded with great enthusiasm. They decided to launch a second phase of Sagar Bandhu in 2014 to help widen the scope of the programme and reach more villages in the area. Once again, they were successful in their endeavours garnering praise and enthusiasm from the fisher folk.

Who We Are?

SWADEEP was established in 2005, focusing on sustainable and integrated Rural Development of the vulnerable, with a special focus on children and women. The organization lays emphasis on transparency, accountability, community mobilization, participation and ownership.